A series of public hearings organized by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) are planned to address the nearly 13 percent electrical rate increase sought by Southern California Edison (SCE).
The utility seeks permission to increase rates and revenue by $222 million by January 2018, with an additional increase of $533 million in 2019, and $570 million in 2020.
The public’s input is requested because, if the CPUC approves the application, it would increase SCE revenue by 5.5 percent next year to $5.9 billion. For customers who use an average 600 kilowatt-hours per month in 2018, the increase is expected to be $3.75 a month. In 2019, the rate would increase to about $5.65 and in 2020 to approximately $7.29.
SCE states the increase is necessary to enhance and modernize parts of the power grid, ensure electric grid safety and reinforce grid reliability and resiliency. This is important as more customers install renewable energy systems, including rooftop solar, battery storage and smart inverters.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Vote Solar have major concerns about SCE’s proposal. Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s Vice President of State Affairs: Major Southern California Edison states, “SCE is underestimating the positive and exaggerating the negative impact of distributed energy.” The extremely costly proposal would not take full advantage of distributed energy resources to limit costs to ratepayers.
Labor unions oppose the rate hike because California power rates are currently 40 percent higher than the national average. The proposed increase would hike rates by more than 53 percent since 2009.
Representatives such as those from The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) plan to protest the increase saying such a hike hurts worker.
They note SCE refuses to let its laborer’s union and other building trades compete for billions of dollars in company infrastructure projects paid for by ratepayers.
“We represent thousands of middle class workers in Southern California trying to make ends meet while Edison consistently increases rates far beyond inflation,” said Armando Esparza, business manager for the Southern California District Council of Laborers, said in a statement, “It’s time for Edison to propose reasonable rates for working Californians who are already financially impacted by high living costs.”
“We think that $17 a month is real money for people struggling to make ends meet these days,” Mark Toney of the utility watchdog group TURN told KPCC.
Before the rates take effect, they must be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission following public hearings. Hearings have already occurred in Fontana and Lancaster. People can ask questions and share their comments at any of the remaining CPUC hearings:
May 16: at 2 & 7 p.m.
Azusa Memorial Park Recreation Center
320 N. Orange Pl.
May 17: at 2 p.m.
Port of Long Beach
4801 Airport Plaza Dr.
May 17: at 6 p.m.
Southgate Council Chambers
8650 California Ave.
May 18: at 2 & 7 p.m.
Delhi Community Center
505 E. Central Ave.
More information about the CPUC hearings can be found online: www.cpuc.ca.gov/PPH
Any citizen unable to attend a public hearing in person can send written comments. Please refer to: Proceeding number A. 16-09-001.
CPUC Public Advisor
505 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Or send via email to: [email protected]